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Can Bladder Cancer Be Prevented?

There is no sure way to prevent bladder cancer. Some risk factors, like your age and family history, can’t be controlled. But there might be things you can do that could help lower your risk.

Don’t smoke

Smoking is thought to cause about half of all bladder cancers. If you're thinking about quitting smoking and need help, call the American Cancer Society for information and support at 1-800-227-2345.

Limit exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace

Workers in industries that use certain chemicals have a higher risk of bladder cancer. This includes the rubber, leather, printing materials, textiles, and paint industries. Other workers with an increased risk of developing bladder cancer include painters and firefighters. If your work might expose you to chemicals that could raise your risk of bladder cancer, be sure to follow good work safety practices.

Some chemicals found in certain hair dyes might also increase risk, so it’s important for hairdressers and barbers who are exposed to these products regularly to use them safely. Most studies have not found that personal use of hair dyes increases bladder cancer risk. For more on this, see Hair Dyes.

Some research has suggested that people exposed to diesel fumes at work might also have a higher risk of bladder cancer (as well as some other cancers), so limiting this exposure might be helpful.

Drink plenty of liquids

Some research suggests that drinking a lot of fluids, mainly water, might lower a person’s risk of bladder cancer.

Limit arsenic intake

Arsenic in drinking water has been linked with a higher risk of bladder cancer in some parts of the world. Arsenic levels in water are higher in some parts of the US than in others.

Arsenic occurs naturally, so it can’t be avoided completely, but there may be things you can do to lower your exposure. If your drinking water comes from a public source, you can find out about the levels of arsenic in your drinking water by contacting your local water system. If you get your water from a private source such as a well, you may want to have your water tested for arsenic levels by a reputable lab. People who live in areas with high levels of arsenic in the water may consider using alternative sources of drinking water, such as bottled water.

Limiting consumption of foods known to contain high levels of arsenic, such as seafood, rice and rice products, and fruit juice, might also help lower exposure.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Some studies have suggested that a diet high in fruits and vegetables might help protect against bladder cancer, but other studies have not found this. Still, eating a healthy diet has been shown to have many health benefits, including lowering the risk of some other types of cancer.

Studies to date have not found that taking vitamins or other dietary supplements can help prevent bladder cancer.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Daneshmand S. Epidemiology and risk factors of urothelial (transitional cell) carcinoma of the bladder. UpToDate. 2023. Accessed at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/epidemiology-and-risk-factors-of-urothelial-transitional-cell-carcinoma-of-the-bladder on October 13, 2023.

Letašiová S, Medvedová A, Šovcíková A, et al. Bladder cancer, a review of the environmental risk factors. Environ Health. 2012;11 Suppl 1:S11.

Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, et al. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA Cancer J Clin. 2020;70(4). doi:10.3322/caac.21591. Accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21591 on October 13, 2023.

Last Revised: March 12, 2024

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